University News

Sibley chosen as VP for strategic initiatives

In expanded role, Sibley to oversee K-12 and alum outreach, digital education efforts

Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Karen Sibley, dean of the School of Professional studies, is now in charge of integrating more technology into education and distributing information about the University to middle and high schools.

Karen Sibley MAT’81 P’07 P’12 P’17, dean of the School of Professional Studies, has been appointed vice president for strategic initiatives, Provost Vicki Colvin announced in a campus-wide email Thursday.

A newly created role, the vice president for strategic initiatives is responsible for “creating innovative educational opportunities for learners of all ages, which will include new outreach to K-12, support for faculty efforts in digital education, innovative master’s education and programs geared toward our alumni,” Colvin wrote in the email.

“There have been many stepping stones in my career,” said Sibley, who has served the University for more than 30 years. “I am very honored.”

In her expanded role, Sibley will continue fulfilling the dean of the School of Professional Studies’ duties, which include running executive master’s and summer programs.

In addition to these current functions, Sibley will also work to integrate technology into education for people of all ages.

Sibley will lead the charge to get “more Brown materials in the hands of students and teachers in private and public middle and high schools,” Colvin said, adding that Sibley will work on packaging, marketing and delivering “modules that get integrated into school districts.”

Undergraduates may also stand to benefit from Sibley’s technological efforts, as she will lead faculty members’ attempts to digitize their teaching. “We are hoping faculty will use her for developing online content,” Colvin said. “She will help with achieving goals for digital education.”

Other parts of Sibley’s new role include synchronizing resources between the School of Professional Studies and the Graduate School and making graduate programs more available to alums.

“We need more and better alumni outreach for executive master’s students,” Sibley said, adding that alums constitute a key population among these programs’ students.

Sibley’s new title reflects the number of varied initiatives she has spearheaded in recent years, said Colvin, who cited Sibley’s work with various schools internationally. The role shows Sibley’s “status is important in the global context.”

Administrators and staff members said Sibley’s ability to spearhead educational innovation coupled with her longstanding connection to the University allow her to lead the school into the future without straying from its values.

Sibley “is really good at thinking outside the box but staying close to Brown’s culture and values,” Colvin said. “She knows what Brown really cares about, so she doesn’t end up getting too commercial.” 

Over the past decade, Sibley has focused on “reinventing the way we provide educational experiences and to whom we provide them,” said Robin Rose, senior associate dean of the School of Professional Studies, who has worked with Sibley since 2002. “The audience may change, (and) the methodology may change, but the values don’t,” she said.

Sibley is “very passionate about her work, and she is eager to serve Brown,” said Alyssa Frezza, who has worked as Sibley’s assistant for the past eight months. “She’s a great leader,” Frezza said.

“I love Brown deeply, and I know it well,” Sibley said. “I’m a person who likes to connect the dots. … I like to think creatively.”

—With additional reporting by Emma Harris

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